USA Rugby Collegiate Council Elects Members
USA Rugby Collegiate Council Elects Members
Completed over the weekend, the Collegiate National Council seated eight members and appointed a representative to the USA Rugby Board of Directors.
Since the ratification of new USA Rugby bylaws in May, a transitional Council supported the restructuring of competitions and development of new governing organizations in the college game. Operating under provisional terms of reference, Council members were elected by conference commissioners of each division. The Council lastly appointed a USA Rugby Board Representative in Michele Yarbrough.
“We’re incredibly excited to complete this chapter in the reorganization with a well-represented group of individuals from the collegiate game,” said USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young, “The process hasn’t been easy, and the college game has notably taken on significant reform, however the collective effort displayed by stakeholders to come together, collaborate and unite as college rugby is encouraging for these student athletes.”
USA RUGBY COLLEGIATE NATIONAL COUNCIL
Board of Directors Representative | Michele Yarbrough
Men's D1A | Paul Keeler, College Rugby Association of America
Women's D1 Elite | Rosalind Chou, Life University
Men's D1-AA | Rich Cortez, American College Rugby
Women's D1 | Olivia Benzan-Daniel, Brandeis University / ACRA
Men's D2 | Shayne Roberson, Lone Star Rugby Conference
Women's D2 | Emily Ogata, Pacific Desert Rugby Conference
Men's D3 | Mark Wilson, Gold Coast Rugby Conference
Women's At Large | Amy Rusert, NIRA Observer
“Watching and being a part of the reorganization that occurred in 2020, I am continually impressed with the commitment and passion shown by the leaders within the College Community," said Yarbrough. "These newly elected Council members are not only truly representative of the college game but dedicated to its success. This is the opportunity that everyone in the rugby community has waited for—to be a part of creating the structure that works for and serves all levels of the game.
"It will be paramount for the College Council to identify those past unmet needs in the College Community and design and implement structures to ensure those needs are met in the future, which by its very nature will aide in the growth of the game.”
Since the ratified bylaws, college competition reorganization has come in the form of assembled divisions collecting under new and existing organizations. Women’s D1 and D2 joined Men’s D1A and Women’s D1 Elite under College Rugby Association of America (CRAA). A partnership initiated in 2019, top competition in the Men’s and Women’s game will now collaborate on playoff and championship events.
American College Rugby (ACR) was similarly established to represent select spring conferences across Men’s D1AA, D2 and D3. ACR will look to administer the student-athlete experience through competition of similarly situated teams, equitable, enforceable and uniform eligibility rules and outstanding postseason competitions.
American College Rugby Association (ACRA) was developed to represent four women’s conferences in Mid-Atlantic, New England Wide, Rugby Northeast and the Tri-State conference. Represented on the Council by Olivia Benzan-Daniel, ACRA looks to concentrate on the growth of women’s programs on the collegiate level. The National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) continues to oversee NCAA Women’s Rugby.
(No mention of NCR because NCR is running its own show, and as such doesn't have a representative as such. However, any NCR team that remains also a member of USA Rugby would have representation through its divisional member.)
The College Council will now begin the process of laying groundwork for the future success of the College game in the United States. Beginning with finalizing the provisional terms of reference with the Council and Board representative now seated.
“This objective along with future practice will require transparency, accountability, fiscal responsibility, diversity, inclusivity, education, recruitment, pathways for member retention, development of administrators, coaches and referees and above all, we as a rugby community working together. We are very fortunate in the college community to have such talented and committed individuals who have stepped up to drive the game forward,” said Yarbrough.
“As we step into 2021, the time is now to dedicate ourselves to identifying, planning and implementing the strategies to ensure the future success of rugby in the United States. The things worth doing in life are rarely easy but that is part of what makes them so worthwhile and I for one am fully committed to seeing rugby succeed in our country.”